Georg Friedrich Händel

Israel in Egypt (HWV 54) is a biblical oratorio by the composer George Frideric Handel. Most scholars believe the libretto was prepared by Charles Jennens, who also compiled the biblical texts for Handel’s Messiah. It is composed entirely of selected passages from the Old Testament, mainly from Exodus and the Psalms.
Israel in Egypt premiered at London’s King’s Theatre in the Haymarket on April 4, 1739 with Élisabeth Duparc “La Francesina”, William Savage, John Beard (tenor), Turner Robinson, Gustavus Waltz, and Thomas Reinhold. Handel started it soon after the opera season at King’s Theatre was cancelled for lack of subscribers. The oratorio was not well received by the first audience though commended in the Daily Post; the second performance was shortened, the mainly choral work now augmented with Italian-style arias.
The first version of the piece is in three parts rather than two, the first part more famous as “The ways of Zion do mourn”, with altered text as “The sons of Israel do mourn” lamenting the death of Joseph. This section precedes the Exodus, which in the three-part version is Part II rather than Part I.

Israel in Egypt
Part I
1. Recitative: Now there arose a new King
2. Solo and Double Chorus
a. Solo: And the children of Israel sighed (Alto)
b. Double Chorus: And their cry came up to God
3. Recitative: Then sent he Moses (Tenor)
4. Chorus: They loathed to drink of the river
5. Aria: Their land brought forth frogs (Alto)
6. Double Chorus: He spake the word
7. Double Chorus: He gave them hailstones
8. Chorus: He sent a thick darkness
9. Chorus: He smote all the first-born of Egypt
10. Chorus: But for his people
11. Chorus: Egypt was glad
12. Double Chorus: He rebuked the Red Sea
13. Chorus: He led them through the deep
14. Chorus: But the waters overwhelmed
15. Double Chorus: And Israel saw that great work
16. Chorus: And believed the Lord
Part II
17. Double Chorus: Moses and the children of Israel
18. Double Chorus: I will sing unto the Lord
19. Duet: The Lord is my strength (2 Sopranos)
20. Double Chorus: He is my God
21. Chorus: And I will exalt Him
22. Duet: The Lord is a man of war (2 Basses)
23. Double Chorus: The depths have covered them
24. Double Chorus: Thy right hand, O Lord
25. Double Chorus: And in the greatness
26. Double Chorus: Thou sentest forth Thy wrath
27. Chorus: And with the blast of Thy nostrils
28. Aria: The enemy said (Tenor)
29. Aria: Thou didst blow (Soprano)
30. Double Chorus: Who is like unto Thee
31. Double Chorus: The earth swallow’d them
32. Duet: Thou in Thy mercy (Alto, Tenor)
33. Double Chorus: The people shall hear
34. Aria: Thou shalt bring them in (Alto)
35. Double Chorus: The Lord shall reign
36. Recitative: For the horse of Pharaoh (Tenor)
37. Double Chorus: The Lord shall reign
38. Recitative: And Miriam, the prophetess (Tenor)
39. Solo Soprano and Double Chorus: Sing ye to the Lord


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